March 25, 2020

VIDEO: On the Senate Floor, Udall Urges Senate to Pass Critical Relief for New Mexico, Tribes Ahead of Vote on Bipartisan Coronavirus Bill


WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.), senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, spoke on the Senate floor to urge fellow senators to pass the critical relief measures included in a compromise, bipartisan coronavirus funding package that would send immediate support to New Mexicans and Tribes suffering the economic and public health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to shore up desperately needed supplies for America’s frontline healthcare professionals. 

Udall spoke on the floor, soon after New Mexico state health officials announced the first COVID-19-related death suffered in the state. Senate Democratic and Republican leaders announced an agreement on a bipartisan $2 trillion economic and public health relief package in response to the coronavirus pandemic that is impacting the lives of all Americans and New Mexicans. The Senate is working to vote on the legislation this evening.

“Today, New Mexico and the nation face a pandemic the likes of which we have not seen in over 100 years,” Udall began. “In New Mexico, we have 100 diagnosed cases,” Udall continued.“And today, the first death in our state is reported. … All New Mexicans are facing new challenges—a threat to our health and a threat to our economy. My top priority is easing this hardship, and making sure that New Mexicans have what they need to stay healthy and to stay economically afloat.”

Udall urged the Senate to quickly act on the deal, which provides: “Relief to American workers, who have been put out of work, and to small businesses.” Udall expanded. “Relief to our hospitals and frontline healthcare workers…relief to states, local governments …and Tribal governments, to whom we owe trust and treaty obligations to provide healthcare, education and community assistance, particularly in times of need.

“With Democrats at the negotiating table…American workers will receive four months more of unemployment insurance, instead of just three,” Udall said. “Because Democrats stood firm, our healthcare system will see an infusion of $55 billion more into the ‘Marshall Fund’ for healthcare…. We will bring accountability and transparency to the relief fund for industry and large corporations…And also makes sure than elected politicians, including the president, are not the beneficiaries of this fund.”

“We must pass this bill without delay,” Udall concluded. “This is a good compromise, and we must act now.”

Highlights of Udall’s remarks by subject are available here and a copy of Udall’s remarks as delivered is available here.